Life’s not all sunshine and rainbows—and if you’ve ever been caught in an unexpected rainstorm, you know that to be true. Especially if you’re halfway through what had otherwise been a relaxing bike ride. Or, perhaps you forgot to check the forecast before biking into work and now you have to commute home while it’s pouring cats and dogs. Regardless, we’ve got you covered with this handy guide on everything you need to know before riding your Bluejay bike in the rain.
First things first: Is it safe to ride an e-bike in a rainstorm?
Yes...but only if your biking trip is absolutely necessary. While your Bluejay can handle light rainfall, you will want to avoid riding it through heavy downpours and definitely be sure to avoid puddles or larger bodies of water, including streams. Note that you should never submerge your bike in water; all that extra H2O can affect the electrical system of your bike. (FYI, we’ve got more info on that here.)
Okay. What else do I need to know about riding a bike when it’s coming down?
The most important thing is to be aware that riding a bike in dry conditions is not the same as riding in the rain. At all. With roads that are slick with rainfall, you’ll need to be even more careful than usual. Our number one tip: When biking in the rain, be sure to ride at slower speeds and understand that you won’t be able to break quickly. Your tires won’t have the same traction as they would on dry roads or paths, so give yourself extra room and time to bring your bike to a complete stop.
And as we said above, you’ll want to avoid puddles of any type. You never know what could be lying beneath the surface of the water...or how deep the hole underneath might be and flying off your bike definitely isn’t fun (or safe).
Finally, it’s important to know that your visibility will be impared by the raindrops coming down—as will the visibility of other drivers and bikers. Just as a driver turns on the headlights of their car when precipitation starts, you should use your bike lights as soon as it starts coming down. This will increase visibility and make your damp ride a little safer. Go ahead and buy a few extra lights and affix them to the frame of your bike if you’d prefer to up your visibility.
And what should I wear to bike in the rain?
Aside from finding a super cute raincoat, your main focus for getting dressed for a ride in the rain should also be about maximizing visibility. As you now know, rain can impede the vision of everyone on the road, which means you should definitely seek out reflective gear. Yup, even if you’re riding during the day. So, the first piece you reach for should be a waterproof jacket with reflective details, whether that’s on the zipper, the sleeves or the back. Although, for maximum visibility in low-light conditions, a combination of reflective patches on all three areas are preferred. We love jackets that are super water-resistant—including zippers and other closures that will guarantee to keep raindrops out. But if you tend to work up a sweat while you pedal, you might want to consider scooping up a coat that’s breathable, in terms of both fabric or smartly placed vents that let air in.
Even if it’s not chilly out, you might want to consider stocking up on some waterproof gloves. This will help improve your grip on the handlebars and the brake handle. Just be sure to pick a pair that’s not too thick, as you do need to have full range of motion for your digits!
Your feet and ankles will definitely be nice and soaked after a ride in the rain, so if you want to keep them dry, you’ll have to pick your footwear accordingly. It probably comes as no surprise that waterproof shoes are definitely the way to go and if you can find a pair of boots, even better. While proper galoshes or rainboots might be too tricky to pedal in—as they’re pretty thick and don’t allow for much movement from the ankle down—a shorter ankle boot could be just right. Alternatively, waterproof sneakers work as well or you could invest in a pair of waterproof socks (yes, those are a thing!) that will keep your toes nice and dry despite the weather.
Finally, you’re going to need something that will keep those raindrops out of your eyes and—if your helmet has air vents—off your head! You could get a cycling cap, which has a brim similar to a baseball cap, but is designed to be worn underneath your helmet. Or a helmet cover could solve the same issue, without messing up your hair, as it’s worn over the helmet.
Phew, I made it home safe. What should I do before storing my bike?
Now that you’re finally safe and dry, it’s time to make sure your bike is in the same condition. We recommend drying it fully (using a rag or any other microfiber towel), making sure to get every inch of the metal frame. Once that’s done, spray an anti-rust treatment onto your bike chain and any other surfaces made of unpainted steel.
If you’re frequently riding your bike through rainstorms, we suggest adhering to a more frequent maintenance schedule, in order to keep an eye out for metal that might be rusting or corroding, in addition to checking that the electrical system is still working correctly. (Don’t worry, we’ve got more info on all that important maintenance stuff right here.)